Lightbulb Ban

U.S. Phases-Out Use of Incandescent Lightbulbs

Beginning on the first day of 2012 the incandescent light bulb, a familiar household object since the late 1800s will no longer be manufactured.

A law was passed by Congress in 2007 to phase out the incandescent light bulbs since they failed to meet new federal energy-efficient standards.

Since 2012, the bulbs have undergone a gradual phase-out. It began with the discontinuation of the 100-watt bulb followed by the end of the 75-watt variety the next year. Now it’s the 40 and 60-watt bulb’s turn to end. This is the most significant discontinuation since, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, these bulbs have traditionally made up about 50 percent of the lighting market for household consumers.

The only incandescent bulbs available will be those left over on store shelves. As they are sold, shelves will be restocked with the newer lighting options. Energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), higher-efficiency bulbs that use halogen gas to slow the tungsten filament’s deterioration and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs will replace them.

Although there has been some backlash on the demise of the familiar (and less expensive) incandescent bulbs by a few conservative groups, a public-opinion survey reveals that only three in 10 consumers are planning on stocking up on the bulbs and using them as long as possible. Most Americans embrace the new lighting and its energy-saving technologies. Around half plan on switching to CFLs and another 25 percent will be choosing the new LEDs.

According to the National Electrical Manufactures Association(NEMA, the switch out of the old bulbs to newer lighting will not be significant. Prices of CFLs have dropped to be comparable to their 60-watt equivalents. Prices of LEDs are also dropping rapidly. Light bulbs that were $40 dollars apiece in 2012 can now be bought for about $10 dollars.

National Resources Defense Council spokesman and senior scientist Noah Horowitz stated, “These new bulbs look and act the same. There’s really no reason to hoard, unless you want to pay a little more on your electric bill.”

The use of LEDs is expected to grow. They produce light by transmitting electricity between two separate semiconductors and dramatically boost energy efficiency and durability. General Electric claimed in a 2012 report that its LED bulbs will last for up to 22 years and use only one-fourth of the amount of energy as the old incandescent bulbs. They will literally light your child’s desk from elementary school to college.